(Article mostly Re-printed from Shindig & Freetime Magazines in the 1990’s – by Del Rivers)
I still can remember standing in The Mason Jar (a local bar known for serving beer in canning jars)…as well as Scorgies…listening to Luther and The BBB’s. What we heard was a mixture of 1960’s Retro-Rock combined with early 1980’s Power-Pop. The BBB’s were stand-outs among Rochester bands like The Bowery Boys (w/Geoff Wilson), The Insiders (w/Walt O’Brien), and The Chesterfield Kings (w/Greg Prevost). Of these die-hard followers of The Kinks, The Monkees, The Byrds, and The Who; Luther and The BBB’s stood out like a set of new Goodyear Tires instead of some cheapo retreads. The snappy Pop tunes created were on par with Syracuse, NY’s Flashcubes (w/Gary Frenay) or with any other Power Pop band that was on Bomp! or Voxx Records in the early 1980’s. Luther and his boys have progressed to that arena (musically, at times) that includes Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, or early Squeeze.
As time goes around, BBB members have followed different routes…Doug Cox, who briefly formed NYC’s Tonebenders, is now climbing telephone poles; Mike Abrams, now a family man, played a roll in both The Projectiles and The Infants; Judd Williams (known as a “legend” in Boston) plays with The Lyres, Riviera Playboys, and now tours with The Amazing Royal Crowns; and finally Jeff “Luther” Holtzman carried The BBB’s flagship through the ’80’s and ’90’s. (The BBB’s briefly changed to The 3-B’s as well). Many future members included ex-Insiders Walt O’Brien and Bob Janneck; It’s My Party/Housecats/Shakin’ Bones members Ken Peters and Hank “Blast” Karuth. In the lean years, Luther worked as a D-J for local bars and co-wrote songs that ended-up as releases from myself and/or McFadden’s Parachute.
Aside from my usual “namedroppings”, a good listen to the CD (Volume One) speaks for itself. Utilizing rare vintage instruments; Luther has created an array of cool, original Rock’n'Roll as well as some updated cover songs in the bonus set. Check out the Rockabilly-influenced “The Echo”, the yearly Christmas standard “Are You Ready For Christmas”, the Psychedelic “Knee Wash”, and aggressive Power-Pop songs like “Rest Of Your Love” and “In My Mind” – all guaranteed to become repeat listeners. (On Whole Lotta Shakin’ – we usually played his “Credit Card Christmas” which isn’t on the CD).
Despite the choking cigarette smoke, and overwhelming odor of urinals (at The Mason Jar – not Scorgies!); that time was a worthy Rock’n'Roll memory and the music is still vital today. I can’t wait ’til Volume Two comes along without the ’smells’ attached to the memories!! Hail to the Great Rickenbacker!!
(Note: Since this article was written, Luther has retired from performing but has recorded about four other unreleased volumes of music with and without Dave Anderson from Saxon Recording. His former band mates now play as Shakin’ Bones). – Del.